Can you feel it? Smell it? Hear it? Spring has officially sprung! This is such a wonderful time of year, especially if you are not afflicted with seasonal allergies. Unfortunately, for over 20% of Americans who do suffer from allergens, spring is less than enjoyable. Experiencing the symptoms of constant sneezing, dry eyes, runny nose, itchy throat, headaches and other symptoms can be a beast to handle on a daily basis. Furthermore, if the root cause of disharmony is not dealt with appropriately, it can burn a significant hole in your pocket over the years. Thankfully, Chinese Medicine can treat both the underlying cause of seasonal allergies, or allergic rhinitis, and the manifesting symptoms.
According to Chinese Medical theory, the underlying cause of allergic rhinitis is a Wei, or defensive, Qi deficiency. Wei Qi is the protective energy that circulates outside the meridians and protects the body from various pathogenic invasions. For example, have you ever noticed that when you step outside into cold weather without warm clothes, you feel good for about a minute before the cold really hits your body? That’s your Wei Qi protecting you from a cold pathogenic invasion!
The Nei Jing, a classical text known as the “Bible” of Chinese Medicine, states “If evil enter, the righteous must be deficient.” Airborne pathogens such as pollen, mold and dander are considered to be wind evils. If you have an underlying Qi deficiency than these wind evils will be allowed to penetrate through the mouth and nasal cavity, causing the typical symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Also, if you suffer from a severe runny nose then you may have a digestive deficiency or poor dietary habits that cause mucus buildup in your system.
Chinese Medicine practitioners use both acupuncture and herbs to treat allergic rhinitis. Acupuncture is a time proven method of treatment that can both boost your bodies natural defenses, and help the body to heal from the inside-out. It also helps to clear the excess heat and dampness which often accumulate in allergen sufferers. It will naturally reduce the severity of symptoms, and help your body to regain its strength and balance. It is highly important to see a skilled practitioner, as they will create a specific acupuncture protocol for your pathology and apply the appropriate needling techniques.
It is also best to see a Certified Chinese Herbalist as they can build you a custom herbal formula, based on your specific diagnosis and underlying cause of dis-ease. Xin yi Hua, Magnolia Flos, is the most common and well-researched herb that is often found in Chinese herbal formulas for treating allergies. Huang Qi, Astragalus, is another common herb that serves to boost the Wei Qi thereby protecting the body from invasion. Also, Ren Shen, Ginseng, is used to boost Qi, which provides the body more strength to fight off allergens. These are just a few examples of the hundreds of herbs in the Chinese Pharmacopeia. A qualified herbalist will choose between 6-15 different herbs to create a powerful formula that is specific for your pathology and manifesting symptoms.
Finally, a healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce the occurrence and severity of allergic rhinitis. Avoiding foods that cause dampness is most important. These foods include: dairy, alcohol, fried/greasy foods, and sugar. Also, reducing stress, maintaining regular exercise, and getting plenty of rest will allow your body to fight off the offending allergens more readily.
So, if your tired of suffering and ready to enjoy this beautiful time of year, then call your local Acupuncturist/Chinese Herbalist today!